TOP 20 NHRA POINTS FINISH
They say hindsight is twenty-twenty, and with a strong finish during the final NHRA Division 3 event in Bowling Green, Kentucky last week, it certainly doesn’t take much refocusing to realize the Northern Force Racing team made the best of what started as a bad situation.
“Out of the box in Indy (Indianapolis, Indiana) back in April we were just straight messed up,” said driver Jory Elliott. “We put a three speed transmission in over the winter to try and pick up the performance of the car, but instead went in the opposite direction to start the season, which was a real eye opener.” The team quickly rebounded from its poor showing at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, to record a round three showing at the following event in Norwalk, Ohio. “With a mix of luck and skill we were able to put a couple round wins together and in the process have the car run the quickest it ever has,” noted Elliott.
The next event in Chicago, Illinois at Route 66 Raceway, again proved to be a learning experience for the team as the changes they made to the car just didn’t pan out, leading to another early round exit. “As the season wore on we continued to learn more about fine tuning the set up on the car and Chicago really gave us a chance to put the final tweaks on that, which really showed in the performance of the car for the remainder of the season,” said Elliott.
The next stop for the team, and the only Canadian date on the schedule in 2014, was the MOPAR Nitro Jam Nationals at the team’s home track in Grand Bend, Ontario. Two years removed from winning the event in 2012, the pressure of being the defending champions had dissipated and the focus was strictly on racing. Despite some mechanical gremlins creeping into the picture and ultimately putting and early end to the team’s weekend, they still managed to put together three round wins during the event.
National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio was the penultimate event for the team in 2014 and it proved to be a preview of what was to come during the team’s final event one month later. “My driving was spot on in Columbus, aside from one bobble which just so happened to be in the first round,” reminisced Elliott. “The car did something weird coming out of the burnout box and hooked so hard it nearly took out the starter stand. Needless to say that had me a little rattled and it effected my reaction time just enough that my competitor was able to get around me.”
The final and most impressive performance of the season for the team was during the last NHRA Division 3 event of the year in Bowling Green, Kentucky. With a driver turning in reaction times within thousandths of a second of each other throughout pre-event testing and the race weekend, and a car that was deadly consistent on a tricky racetrack, the team managed to make it to the fourth round of competition before losing to the eventual winner of the event by just five one-thousandths of a second (.005). “We had everything going for us and were without a doubt one of the most consistent car and driver combos on the property last weekend,” recalled Elliott. “We just missed it by the tiniest of margins and sometimes that’s just how it goes in our sport. When it’s your day, it’s your day, and it just wasn’t our day.” With the points gained from the final event on the schedule, the team moved into a top 20 position in the NHRA Division 3 standings, placing them ahead of more than 100 other competitors who claimed points in the division.
The team now plans to take a long break over the winter to focus on their 2015 plans, which at this point have no real direction. “We’d really like to run some NHRA national events and stroke that off the bucket list for me as a driver,” stated Elliott. “My dad has also expressed interest in giving driving another shot and to be honest, I’m probably most excited about that for next season.”
Whatever happens for the Northern Force Racing team in 2015, you can bet they will be in it to win it when they hit the track for their first event next season.